Most people think of sporting events and political caucuses/elections as being two completely different occasions. After all, sporting events are “Just for fun,” and “political events” are where we supposedly decide “the future leadership of our country” right?
Well, it struck me one day when I was watching the political conventions of 2012 how similar the feeling and spirit expressed at those conventions was to the play-offs during football season, and how many similarities there were between the way our 2-party political “Left vs Right” presidential elections and The NFL are run.
Here is a short summation of those similarities:
IN FOOTBALL: There’s the “AFC” and the “NFC”—–
IN POLITICS: There’s the “Republicans” and “Democrats”—-
IN FOOTBALL: At the end of the year, the top team from each league competes in “The Super Bowl.” (The winner gets “The trophy”)
IN POLITICS: The Republicans’ best team competes with the Democrats’ best team.
(The winner gets to be in “the White House”)
IN FOOTBALL: The quarterback is “the leader of the team” on the field.
IN POLITICS: The president/or candidate for president is the leader of the party/team.
IN FOOTBALL: The quarterback seems to be making all the decisions, but in reality, he gets the plays from the coach/coaches advisors.
IN POLITICS: The president SEEMS to be “the head of his team,” but he actually gets “his plays” (AKA “His Agenda”) from his chief of staff, political advisors, think tanks, and—his “coaches (Karl Rove, Rahm Emmanuel etc). He merely “executes” those plays.
IN FOOTBALL: There are “fans” rooting for one of the two sides to win, and they virulently hate the players/coaches of the other team, rejoicing when their team “wins the game,” vowing to “Beat them next time” if they lose. And they especially love seeing the Quarterback “get sacked” by the other team.
IN POLITICS: The VOTERS are like the fans. They HATE the people in “the other party,” root for their “candidates team” to “win the election,” and are despondent when they lose. Instead of “games” they have “campaigns.” Instead of “rooting for their team,” they donate $/vote for the candidate(s) they want to win.
IN FOOTBALL: Both branches (The AFC and The NFC) are Owned by THE NFL. The owners don’t really care who wins because as long as the fans spend $$ and attend the games, get revved up, or the teams put on a good show, the owners make $$.
IN POLITICS: Both parties/”Teams” are owned/funded by big monied interests. While these monied interests may “bet on different teams,” in the end they all make $$. Why? Because even if the team they bet on loses the election, they have 50/50 chance of winning their $$ back NEXT ELECTION. And, they always bet some of the their money on the other side.
IN FOOTBALL: The quarterback has an “Offensive line” that protects him from their teams defensive line (the people trying to sack him/”intercept” his passes,tackle the running backs etc)
IN POLITICS: The President’s “Offensive line” is his cabinet officials/white house spokesman. They’re the ones that help him execute his plays, promote and execute his game plan/agenda, and protect him from criticism & attack.
IN FOOTBALL: The quarterback is in charge of “The offensive attack” and he can hand the ball off to his offensive players (running backs) in order to “Go deeper into enemy territory” or throw “Long bombs” to wide receivers who are “Behind enemy lines.”
IN POLITICS: The President is “The Commander in Chief.” His “offensive line” is the military. In a “real war” the president can use “Ground troops” in an offensive war (Running backs) to move into “enemy territory” or he can shoot missiles (Throw the bomb) into that territory. In a “Political war” he can use ex presidents/his vice president in the same way a quarterback uses a running back to “promote his ideas” for him: to “show up at political fundraisers and promote him to “make his case” (AKA “Run with the ball”)
IN FOOTBALL: The quarterback gets the team to “Huddle” before each play.
IN POLITICS: The President has “A situation room” where all his important advisors meet and “Huddle up” to decide how to deal with “the next play”
I could probably list more—-but I think you get the point.
The fact is, while politics is often compared to show business (The old saying “Politics is show business for ugly people”), the actual process itself actually has a lot in common with sporting events. The reality is that in both political events and sporting events, the spectators have an equal effect on what happens “on the field.”